Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Carriage Clock Time

This proxy blog is hereby retired.

The official Anne Begg website is now online. Regular news of Ms Begg's activities can be found there.

The reasons for this retirement of this blog are discussed in this post on my own blog (which you're most likely to have been in the middle of reading if you've clicked here, sorry).

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Big Time

First, a little bad news.
Anne's official site still isn't ready to go. The office address has been updated though which is a start. I'm getting slightly bored of this to be honest. When I set up this blog, I genuinely thought it'd only last a short while. That was 11 weeks ago. Perhaps I should have emailed Anne at the very beginning to see what she intended. Anyway, it's not looking hopeful for an official launch before the summer recess. I shall email Anne to see if I can find out.

And now, the good news.
Anne has made the national press after another appearance in yesterday's PMQs.
The BBC seems reasonably amused.
There was a lighter moment when Labour's Anne Begg introduced Harry Potter.
The Telegraph is rather unkind.
This was a question so sycophantic one could imagine it being put to Saddam Hussein in the bad old days before Mr Blair transformed Iraq into a democracy.
The Times isn't quite so harsh.
Ms Begg saved him by mentioning the words Harry Potter. Mr Blair broke into a grin for it is a name he recognised... Ms Begg ruined her question by going all political and talking about literacy. Mr Blair turned to his briefing folder but admitted it held nothing about Harry...
Even Simon Hoggart was inspired to write about Anne. She has apparently been awarded this week's "Guardian Poppy award which goes to the MP who drags the most egregious example of popular culture into the chamber."
When Simon Hoggart writes about you, you know you've made the big time.

Anne also spoke in a debate on Monday concerning social security medical appeals tribunals.
Interesting.*

I'll hopefully have some more information on the progress of Anne's site nect time I post. We shall see.

*Well, I find it interesting. I may be in a minority there though.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Successes!

Success 1
Last week, Anne again raised the issue of Co-proxamol in the House. Anne made several representations to the Minister (Caroline Flint) on the issue. It seems that the government is ready to compromise on the proposed complete ban on the drug. The Press and Journal reported the story last week too. Good work Anne!

Success 2
The continuing fight by a cross party group of local MPs, including Anne, to save the Aberdeen Met Office seems to be having an effect.
"I'm not taking on board any recommendation from the Met Office board or anybody else until everyone who is involved, or is interested, has a say."
Don Touhig, Defence Minister
The Minister's tone suggests that there is indeed hope for the Aberdeen office. More good work Anne!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

A New Office

I received a letter a wee while back informing me that Anne has moved office. I forgot to mention it previously. Her new address is:
Anne Begg MP
Centurion Court
North Esplanade West
Aberdeen
AB11 5QH
I'm assuming I received this letter because I've written to Anne in the past and am on the relevant mailing list. Impressive work from Anne there, I feel.

I may take this opportunity to write to Anne to ask about progress on the official website.

Bumper Anne Begg Post

There is lot's to report so lets get right on with it.

Today (13th July) the Press and Journal reports on Anne's attempts to have the government overturn the forthcoming ban on the prescription of Co-proxamol. Hmm, sounds vaguely familiar. Ah yes, Anne's second question in this post from 25th of June explains why. I do wish these professional journalist types would at least try to keep up. Honestly, I don't know, reporters today...

Yesterday, Anne participated in a debate on Women and Pensions. The debate was held in Westminster Hall, an informal debating chamber.
Anne appears determined to address the difficulties experienced by women in the current pension system. She has previously expressed her views and concerns here and here.

Anne also spoke in the debate on the threatened closure of the Aberdeen Met Office. The blog has been following this story with interest. The decision is in the hands of Don Touhig who said this:
I have started the 90-day consultation. I am inviting everyone and his uncle to take part so that we have their views. That is the best way to proceed. At the end of the day, I will have to consider the options and come forward with a proposal.
If you are everyone, or indeed their uncle, you can send your views to the Minister via the contact details in this blog post. The Press and Journal has scooped the blog by a matter of many hours on this one.
OK, we'll call it a draw.

Sadly, the blog's request for opinions on the Incitement to Religious Hatred Bill did not elicit any responses. For the record, Anne voted in support of the bill. The bill has now been passed back to the Lords. Further information on the bill is available from the BBC for anyone interested.

Finally, and actually unrelated to Anne, it may interest you to know that someone has taken the time and trouble to add this word to the glossary of parliamentary terms on theyworkforyou. I believe a BOOM! might be in order.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Anne's EDM

Anne has spoken again in parliament. In fact, according to theyworkforyou, Anne is the 47th most vocal MP in the Commons. When you consider there are 645 MPs, 47th is pretty good going.

Yesterday, Anne raised the issue of her Early Day Motion.
I do not know whether the Leader of the House has had time to read the early-day motion that I tabled this week congratulating Whizz-kidz—an organisation that provides wheelchairs for disabled children—on its work. Problems with the supply of such equipment persist, so will my right hon. Friend find time for a debate on the whole issue of the supply of equipment for disabled people?
Geoff likes the EDM. Members of the government strongly support it. He doesn't say whether there will be a debate on it though.

Here it is.
EDM 483
ACCESS TO WHEELCHAIRS FOR CHILDREN
04.07.2005
Anne Begg
That this House congratulates Whizz-Kids on its campaign to raise awareness of the importance of independent mobility for disabled children; recognises that independent mobility allows children with mobility impairments to `keep up with childhood', acquire social, academic and development skills and improve their life chances; notes that there are over 70,000 children in the UK for whom the provision of the right wheelchair could make a critical difference; and calls on the Government to ensure that these children have access to the mobility equipment they need, when they need it.
A number of MPs have already signed it. I should think that all 645 ought to sign up.

More information on what EDMs are is available here.
The blog isn't entirely sure if the government intends to respond to Anne's call.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Important Vote Ahead

The blog poses a question on Anne's future.

The Incitement to Religious Hatred Bill goes to a vote on Monday.
Forthcoming Business of the House of Commons
Monday 11 July
Legislation – Racial and Religious Hatred Bill – Remaining Stages

Anne voted for the bill in the second reading.

The blog would like to know how you think Anne should vote on Monday. Answers in the comments please. (Open to all. Anne's constituents especially welcome to express a view.)

Btw, this post is, in a round about way, via the Christian Institute. Here's the C.I. assessment of Anne's voting record. They're not very happy with her. They're also not worth paying attention to. Look here, where they freely admit they campaign on drugs. Shocking behaviour!
Seriously though, I think most people would agree they're a bit whacky. Take no notice.
Anyway, what do you think, Yay or Nay?

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Anne Begg Links

It's been 2 months since the election and Anne's official site still isn't back online. Here are some of the thing's she might have mentioned if she'd been online.

Anne spoke in the House on Tuesday during a debate on the Make Poverty History demonstration.
What I noticed when I went round the demonstration on Saturday was that people were demonstrating to persuade the G8 leaders to get on with the job of making poverty history...
(From this, it is also possible to deduce that Anne attended the protest in Edinburgh on Saturday. Now that's investigative blogging.)

On Tuesday, Anne also asked a question regarding Constitutional affairs.
I thank my right hon. and learned Friend for her answer to that and to earlier questions from my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Richard Burden). In her reply to my hon. Friend, she said there was not necessarily a link between turnout and the voting system. Our experience in Scotland suggests that there is a link. Where new voting systems have been introduced, turnout did not increase—it decreased. There are at present in Scotland three different types of voting system, soon to be four, and there is huge confusion among the electorate about what they are doing at each election. The number of spoiled ballot papers has also increased, which may disguise the level of turnout. What do the Government intend to do about that?
A question on voting system reform, for which there is apparently no groundswell.
Hmm, no mention of the 1997 Labour manifesto then?*

Elsewhere, the P&J have continued their coverage of Anne and Frank (with supporting cast) as they try to save Aberdeen Met Office:

Met Office lose £1m Shell contract. (Front page, Anne pictured and quoted.)
Almost an apology. (Anne quoted.)
Sun may yet shine on Aberdeen Met Office (Anne's actions start to have an effect.)

Good work Anne and Frank (and supporting cast).

* I mean this bit:
We are committed to a referendum on the voting system for the House of Commons. An independent commission on voting systems will be appointed early to recommend a proportional alternative to the first-past-the-post system.
I was going to try to keep my own opinions out of this blog, but I've sort of changed my mind. Again. When Anne's new website comes online, she'll be able to express her own opinions there. If Anne's new site has a blog, I'll even promote it as much as I can *and* promise not to continually use the comments section to launch tirades against the government. I've got my own blog for that.